In the Garden:
Middle South
October, 2013
Regional Report

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As you plant bulbs in the ground, also set some in pots. These hyacinths and puschkinias will be ready to brighten up rooms next March.

Forcing Fun

Here's a fun fall task. For every bulb you plant in chilly fall soil, plant another one in a pot. It's a great way make spring happen both inside and outside your house. Best of all, the forced bulbs give you something fun to do in winter that involves growing beautiful plants.

If you're new at forcing, work with hyacinths. They're dependable, fragrant, and need only 12 weeks of cold. Most other bulbs need 15 weeks of temperatures below 45 degrees to insure uniform flowering.

Forcing Finesse
Here's an easy forcing method to try. After keeping your spring-flowering bulbs in the fridge until soil temperatures cool into the 40s, which is usually late this month or next in our area, plant the bulbs for forcing in 4-inch individual pots. Keep these outdoors, buried in a shallow hole, covering over the pots with boards to deter hungry squirrels, and piling chopped leaves over the boards. Starting in early February, bring the pots into a cool room two or three at a time.

When the flower buds appear, transplant the actively growing bulbs into prettier pots, with stones and tufts of moss on the surface to dress them up bit. Place your "bulbscapes" where they get strong sun but remain somewhat cool during the night for the longest flowering.

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